4 May 2013

Eurovision: My Countdown To Malmö 2013

Hello Europe! The Eurovision Song Contest 2013 will be hosted from Malmo, Sweden. So the countdown is well and truly on! I am extremely excited for this years contest, I can't actually wait because I missed last years show due to being in America! Calling all my American friends! I love you all but you'll never know what it's like to miss the Eurovision Song Contest! No, no!

Eurovision has been kind to Turkey over the years, especially so for Sertab Erener. Debuting her song 'Everyway That I Can' at the Skonto Hall in Riga, Latvia this showcase happened to be on the night of my first Eurovision way back in 2003. I have a great connection with Turkey and honestly thought that 'Sertab Erener' sang her heart out for her country! 'Everyway That I Can' encapsulated some authentic Turkish qualities such as; belly dancing in a fashion that appeared to be contemporary. I will be honest, I was rooting for Turkey more than for the United Kingdom. Turkey has fared very well during their reign of Eurovision, this catchy Turkish anthem would do everything it could to get those points! Turkey performed early on during the show, with 'Sertab' singing 4th in the lineup so she had a long time to wait till the results would be called. 'Everyway That I Can' won with 167 points! Now, that's a Turkish Delight!

I couldn't believe it, well I knew Turkey would be the winners! I just had a gut feeling! From that night onwards I would be a avid Eurovision fan, maybe one day I could be in the audience cheering along to the campery and fabulousness! So, it was set in stone that Turkey would host the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest in the city of Istanbul! Woman power was represented by Ukraine's Ruslana in 2004 with her bizarre anthem 'Wild Dances'. The song didn't really make much sense to me but Ruslana served Cavewoman Overness in her shorter than short animal print mini skirt and crop top! Sibel Tüzün brought sexy back for Turkey in 2006 during the contest in Athens, Greece with a 'Superstar' performance. Azeribaijan impressed me much in 2009 with 'Always' by 'Aysel' and 'Arash' because you already know I love that Middle Eastern vibe! Over the later years of my Eurovision viewing the Eurasian entries have set off the right spark for the show! Who knows what Azerbaijan will bring next?!

Rewinding back to a time where I didn't know about the Eurovision Song Contest a milestone was in Birmingham at the 1998 contest. 'Dana International', the Israeli entry became the first ever openly 'transgender' performer in the history of the contest. Miss International sang 'Diva' a upbeat pop anthem, having pride in her Israeli nationality she sang the entire song in the Hebrew language. 'Dana' made it to the top spot with 172 votes beating the other twenty-four candidates in the competition. Looking back at footage from what I have seen of her performance I wish had watched that contest because her outfit was stunning! It's clear to see that the Eurovision Song Contest stands to be a very expecting competition, let's hope that 'Dana International' won't be the only transgender singer to ever perform at this contest! Let's never forget the ultimate 'Diva' will always be 'Dana International'. Diva!

But, hang on one moment! During the contest in Helsinki, Finland around 2007 a certain start brought the fabulous performance by the Ukrainian entry. 'Verka Serduchka' drag superstar from Ukraine performed a camptastic spectacle, her song 'Dancing Lasha Tumbai' whatever the song actually meant doesn't matter because the performance was out of this world! Translations of the dance hit couldn't be completed properly because the song didn't mean much in Ukrainian but I honestly didn't care at the time of that Eurovision Song Contest! The United Kingdom hasn't snatched a Eurovision trophy since 1997 with 'Gina G's' 'Oh Ah, Just a Little Bit!' so when 'Scooch' performed their camper than camp entry 'Flying the Flag' in also in 2007 I could at least enjoy the ridiculousness and innuendo of their Cabin Crew style hit! I don't think we'll ever win again at Eurovision in the future because the other countries make the best of established acts, where did it all go wrong B?

The Eurovision Song Contest is no stranger to politics but 2007 brought a whole different story. Serbia made the brave decision to make its debut entry as an independent country, representing with a truly poignant song with a message. 'Marija Serifovic' made her debut performance for her country with her song 'Molitva' which translates to 'Prayer'. 'Marija' was accompanied by five strong female ambassadors who were all serving Presidential Realness! I believe that Serbia's song was perfectly executed with an aire of power, 'Marija' certainly proved that it takes a great voice to sound like hers did live! It's no secret that this Balkan country has been through unimaginable hardship over the last few years, progressing to become a free country away from Montenegro did this sway the voters at all? Europe listened to Marija's prayer that night for Serbia won triumphantly with 286 points! Can this contest build bridges?

From the golden days of 'ABBA' and 'Bucks Fizz' its clear to see that the Eurovision Song Contest has morphed into something so much more than what it previously was before. Relying on YouTube was a blessing because I was able to catch-up with 2012's contest in Baku, Azerbaijan to see Loreen change the game forever with 'Euphoria' for Sweden! We'll never get away from the saga of political voting and countries withdrawing for ridiculous reasons but its the drama, sequins and catchy verses that keep us wanting more from this European music powerhouse! My American friends don't need to get the idea of Eurovision but its a night of television gold they should be willing to watch, there's nothing special on their screens if I'm completely honest! From 'Dana International' breaking down the barriers to 'Ruslana' for serving Cavewoman Overness, I salute the Eurovision Song Contest! I'm telling myself that I won't miss another contest, but that promise didn't go well! Yes!

Ruslana, I Want More 'Wild Dances!'

Joseph Harrison 

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